Translating Political Consciousness into Movement: Panthic Organization in the Diaspora
“Standing at the threshold of the future, we must shift the terrain from a politics of grievance seeking solutions solely from state institutions, towards an internal transformation aimed at cultivating our collective power through our own sovereign institutions.”
Marking the 39th anniversary of the Battle of Amritsar, a number of panthic jathebandiyan came together to reiterate their commitment to furthering internal coordination and strengthening panthic efforts around the world. While pledging their support for the efforts of the Panth Sewak collective in Punjab, the jathebandiyan also committed to developing a similar platform in the diaspora/exile to further diplomatic and solidarity-building initiatives in their advocacy for Khalistan.
The document provides a sharp analysis of the current political churning in Punjab and South Asia, and the opportunities and challenges this presents to the Panth and Punjab. Rather than claiming a top-down approach, the jathebandiyan articulate the importance of collective leadership and decentralized organization in order to effectively traverse the difficult terrain ahead of us over the coming years. They are unequivocally clear that while the material conditions and political consciousness for the next phase of the sangarsh are currently taking shape, establishing credible and effective leadership structures is a crucial prerequisite in order to concretely transform this energy into a meaningful political movement.
Joint statement by international panthic jathebandiyan
Since 1699, the Khalsa’s sangarsh (struggle) has always been an exercise of the patshahi bestowed upon the Khalsa to destroy the tyrants and protect the weak, and establish a just society-polity based on sanjhivalta (equality/co-existence). Since June 4, 1984, the ongoing struggle for the establishment of Khalistan is the contemporary legacy of Guru Sahib’s vision to establish a sovereign halemi raj(humble/just polity) rooted in sarbat da bhala (welfare of all of Akaal’s creation).
This sangarsh was initiated as a revolutionary resistance to abolish the Indian state, capitalist exploitation, and Hindutva’s caste-based supremacy–with a clear commitment to advancing the liberation of the oppressed across the subcontinent. The objective of this struggle, the establishment of an independent Khalistan, is based on the gurmat principles of sarbat da bhala and halemi raj. Our shaheeds, jujharoos, and warriors in exile accomplished historic feats while upholding the Akali (divine/timeless) sovereignty of the Khalsa. Those bajurg (elders) who attained shaheedi, served extensive jail sentences, or face indefinite exile during this first phase of our sangarsh serve as exemplary guiding lights for the next generation.
Current conditions: strategic threats and opportunities
Given the increasing political turmoil and instability within Punjab, South Asia, and the broader global system, the Panth and Punjab are facing a host of unique threats and opportunities today.
Given these fluid circumstances–and the growing political consciousness of Sikh naujawan–the Indian establishment and intelligence agencies have been preparing to renew their genocidal repression of Sikhs. The first glimpse of this was seen in the counter-insurgency operations of March 18. While Sikhnaujawan were being detained arbitrarily, a novel set of psyops (psychological operations) were also launched in order to promote chaos and reinstill fear in the hearts and minds of Punjab. Significant efforts were made to unleash a campaign of character assassination against various Panthic personalities and jujharoos in order to discredit the Khalistan movement as a whole. With this objective in mind, social media and other digital platforms were leveraged in order to fan mistrust and polarization internally. Every effort is being made by the Indian establishment to displace the foundations of the Sikh sangarsh and increase internal conflict in order to ultimately leave Sikhs vulnerable to unrestrained state violence and neutralize our ability to resist this onslaught.
The only way any movement can effectively persevere through such periods of instability and achieve their objectives is by establishing credible and effective leadership structures. These structures are necessary in order to build consensus around our collective response to external challenges, while also increasing our capacity to attain our own strategic objectives. Developing this leadership depends on cohesive organizational structures and effective decision-making processes.
Only by establishing this form of collective leadership will we be capable of defending ourselves against the threats we are currently facing, as well as capitalizing on the opportunities before us so that we can ultimately advance towards the Panth’s declared objective, Khalistan.
Preparing for the next phase of the Sikh sangarsh
Given the massive shifts underway in the region and throughout the world, the conditions for the next phase of our sangarsh are currently taking shape around us. In order to advance towards our goals and neutralize the Indian state’s intentions, our primary objective must be for those jathay (units), organizations, and activists committed to Guru Granth-Guru Panth to strengthen their mutual sanjh (connection/coordination) in light of Sikh traditions today.
In these circumstances, we unequivocally endorse the efforts of those brave jujharoos (warriors) like Bhai Daljit Singh, Bhai Narain Singh Chaura, Bhai Rajinder Singh Mughalwal, Bhai Lal Singh Akalgarh and other panth sewaks who have been tirelessly working in Punjab to reorganize the Panth’s organizational structures and develop collective leadership in light of the Khalsa’s traditions. We are committed to supporting these selfless panth sewaks and their efforts to rejuvenate the Khalistan movement on firm footing.
In order to prepare for the next phase of the Sikh sangarsh, a strong and unified collective structure is necessary in order to galvanize the countless autonomous local organizations serving the Panth in their independent ways. Developing nishkam (selfless) collective leadership is a crucial preparatory step in order to ensure our capacity to fight the looming struggle ahead of us in the near future.
Next steps for Sikhs around the world
Alongside this internal reorganization, we are committed to establishing a similar platform in the diaspora which is dedicated to supporting efforts to revive sovereign self-governance for the Guru Khalsa Panth as well as achieving Khalsa jee de bol baale in the current world order through the establishment of Khalistan. Alongside supporting Panthic efforts on the ground in Punjab, we will work to develop consensus on these issues among Sikhs around the world.
Standing at the threshold of the future, we must shift the terrain from a politics of grievance seeking solutions solely from state institutions, towards an internal transformation aimed at cultivating our collective power through our own sovereign institutions.
In order to achieve these objectives, we are committed to hosting a collective gathering very soon where we will discuss effective international structures and processes in order to execute the following tasks:
Initiate internal dialogue with other Panthic groups to facilitate working relationships that strengthen global advocacy for Khalistan.
Establish consensus-building mechanisms to develop the proposed governance structures and administration envisioned in Khalistan.
Engage in diplomacy and advocacy around the world to support the establishment of Khalistan.
Develop a transparent diplomatic framework (Sikh ‘foreign policy’) to establish clear parameters and objectives for our diplomacy.
Influence global policy to achieve strategic objectives through:
a. Solidarity building with other movements and global campaigns.
b. Direct engagement with other states and international institutions.
Our benti to the valiant naujawan and sangat of the Guru Khalsa Panth is to come together, so that we can collectively demonstrate our commitment to the blood of our shaheeds and proceed towards the next phase of the ongoing struggle with firm commitment, steady composure, and the spirit of selflessness.
Guru Panth De Daas,
International Sikh Federation, Germany
Sikh Council of Belgium
Sikh Federation of Australia
Sikh Federation, America
Sikh Federation, Italy
Sikh Federation, Spain
Sikh Federation, Switzerland
Sikh Federation, Germany
Sikh Federation, France
Sikh Federation, UK
Sikh Youth of America
Gurdwara Sahib Dasmesh Darbar (Surrey), Canada
National Sikh Federation, Greece
21 Jeth, 555 Nanakshahi June 4, 2023 CE